“Traveling Talisman Productions” presents Sitting Bull’s Last Waltz at the Johnny Carson Theatre at The University of Nebraska-Lincoln March 2nd-5th. There are 5 performances, March 2-5th at 7:30pm with a 2:30 matinee March 5th. The show is written by Nebraska native John Templin Schliesser, produced by Schliesser and Kathleen Dougherty, scored by Gregg Foreman (Cat Power), and directed by award-winning Director Lara Marsh. It stars Alan Tafoya as Sitting Bull, and features a cast of both local and Los Angeles-based performers.
Sitting Bull’s Last Waltz is a Post-Punk Musical about Sitting Bull’s final years as an international celebrity and performer in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show, his close friendships with Annie Oakley, Buffalo Bill, and Catherine Weldon, the escalating conflict with Agent James ‘White Hair’ McLaughlin at Standing Rock, and his involvement in the Ghost Dance.
Sitting Bull, a Shaman and Chief, was also famous as a singer and songwriter among the Sioux, and used this gift of expression to rally and move his followers. Because of this, Sitting Bull’s Last Waltz was conceived as a musical, though in a very non-traditional style that reflects the spirit of this man in our own troubled times. Sitting Bull spoke out on behalf of the disenfranchised, and continues to speak to us now, especially in light of the current struggle at Standing Rock.
Schliesser has been working on the songs and script of Sitting Bull’s Last Waltz for years. The process has involved close collaborations with notable Sioux performers such as Mo Brings Plenty and Zahn McClarnon; and along with Foreman, musicians such as Erik Paparazzi (Cat Power), Guy Blakeslee (Entrance Band), Jared Samuel (Sean Lennon), Ben Lecourt (Emitt Rhodes), Joe Cardamone (Icarus Line), and Will Scott (Wolf Mother). Iggy Pop guitarist and producer James Williamson has been a guiding force with the music, helping assemble musicians, and providing input along the w
Many things led Schliesser to the point of writing this: growing up in Nebraska on the edge of Lakota country listening to the tales of his indigenous grandfather; the impact Punk and Post-Punk had on his sound and aesthetic; his time at Berkeley studying film theory and the avant-garde; not to mention his work in Central America on behalf of the politically persecuted for Amnesty International. But mainly it was Sitting Bull himself, a most uncommon hero with so much to teach us, and the events leading to his final resistance that have fascinated Schliesser since he was a child.